Sunday, May 7, 2017

... on Fear of Hell and Christian Belief (quora)

... on Fear of Hell and Christian Belief (quora) · part II

Is anyone else a Christian simply because they fear hell?

John VanValkenburg
studied at University of Alberta
Answered Thu
Yes, that’s a common experience. Many doubters and former believers have nightmares about hell. Religion is a meme, an idea that spreads itself. One of the most effective ways of spreading is appealing to emotion. In this case, fear.

Think about it - does hell need to be feared? If the god does not exist, then the god’s punishment doesn’t exist either. There would be no more reason to fear hell then fire giants or the sun ceasing to come up. It is possible to believe in an evil god who would create endless torment, but that’s not what nearly all Christians believe. Think about it - would the merciful god you believe in engage in eternal torment? Isn’t it far more likely that this is a lie invented by men to inspire fear in their followers? Do you think that a merciful, all knowing god be impressedby someone he knew was inauthentic and fearful?

I hope you are able to free yourself from the abuse that has been visited on you.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Why the Hell (sorry for pun, or not quite so, no) do you suppose someone is a Christian because of fear of Hell and for no other reasons?

I believe in Hell, because I am a Christian. Not the other way round.

John VanValkenburg
Because I’ve heard people explicitly say exactly that.

Do you believe any human deserves eternal torment? If so, you are a vile person.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
To the first : I suppose they may have meant “born again Christian” and not “Christian believer”. Next time, try to check “do you mean you took Jesus as your Saviour and Lord because you fear Hell, or do you mean you believe He lived, died and rose from the dead because you fear Hell?”

I believe an infinite offense can deserve infinite punishment.

And a very direct offense against God is infinite, because God is infinite.

I also believe that death sunders a man from possibilities of changing his mind and ways significantly.

A man who has deserved Heaven (with Grace of Christ in his heart, not on his own) continues to do so all eternity in Heaven.

A man who has deserved Hell (without Grace of Christ, on his own with mortal sins) continues to do so all eternity in Hell.

However vile I might be otherwise, I think the really vile thing is thinking either a soul can just cease to exist or a soul can ping pong all over eternity between Heaven and Hell.

John VanValkenburg
First point is a No True Scotsman fallacy. You don’t get to say that only people who fulfill your personal criteria are truly Christian.

Second point is fallacy of excluded middle. There are other options - for example, the god supposedly known for forgiveness could forgive transgressions against himself.

You are in favor of eternal torment and are indeed a vile person.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
“You don’t get to say that only people who fulfill your personal criteria are truly Christian.”

I am sorry, but you cannot speak of my committing that one.

I was asking whether that was YOUR criterium, because if it wasn’t, your position about Christians more in general doesn’t make sense.

To the rest:

God certainly can FORGIVE transgressions - all are against Himself - to those who ask forgiveness while it is time.

But a God who respects freedom certainly cannot force forgiveness on someone not wanting forgiveness for what he is fine with himself.

So, are you in favour of God forcing people where they do not want?

Of God annihilating those not wanting forgiveness?

Of God giving chance after chance however many chances are rejected?

I think the vile concept is yours, not mine.

There is more under that question, will see tomorrow whether update or new post is best.

Actually, I did not update until two days after above. I did another post (link, see above or below) and now I have posted each part in a new comment under both Valkenburg's and Lorenzo's answers. Under Valkenburg, I wrote:

Take a look at my own answer and Joe Lorenzo’s, see where we differ in terminology, and I think you will see your informants have been using his terminology, not mine.

And under Lorenzo's I wrote:

Take a look at how Valkenburg takes your terminology, which to him indicates that you were not believing God existed or Jesus lived or died and rose from the dead until you had been afraid of Hell - what did you believe, btw?

In each case adding the appropriate link below the remarks.